Following a series of high profile ride-sharing incidents in South Africa, a number of users are now pursuing a class action lawsuit against Uber.
According to their legal representative, Ulrich Roux, eleven people will approach the High Court to pursue a damages claim against the ride-sharing company.
Speaking to eNCA, Roux said that it was important to remember that passengers are getting into a vehicle with a complete stranger when using one of these taxi services.
He said that users should request that their drivers open the vehicle’s boot to verify that no one is in it before getting in, that the driver of the vehicle matches the driver shown in the app, and that the driver knows your name.
“At the end of the day, when these users entered those vehicles they were doing so under the premise that Uber promises to offer a safe and reliable service.
“Clearly in these instances that was not the case and there is now a case of vicarious liability,” he said.
“Uber offers a transport service. The drivers who transport our clients and thousands of other passengers are employees of Uber.”
Roux said that Uber had turned its back on these incidents and refused to acknowledge them.
Ramping up safety
Both Uber and similar platform Bolt (formerly Taxify) have continued to roll out a number of safety features to protect both passengers and drivers in the country in recent months.
Uber announced in December that it would offer 24/7 phone support through its app, and that users can access the feature by tapping ‘help’ in the main menu of the app and then selecting the ‘call’ option to be connected to Uber’s 24/7 support team.
Riders can also contact the Uber support team through the 24/7 in-app messaging feature or visit help.uber.com for frequently asked questions, it said.
However, Uber said that riders should still call 10111 or use the in-app emergency button which connects to its third-party security providers.
Bolt announced a similar feature in September, with its app connecting quickly and easily to private security response teams, emergency medical services and roadside assistance in the event of any medical or security emergencies.